The research investigated emergent trends in rural/agricultural real estate and migration within the Algoma region since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine what types of impacts these will have on different facets of the local agri-food sector. It was hypothesized that a combination of factors such as labour shortages, heightened real estate prices, and a sudden increase in demand for local food has been putting unforeseen pressures on the agri-food sector which could create conditions less conducive to capital investment and business expansion.
Perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including those from the Anabaptist farming community, commodity growers (e.g. cash crops, cattle), food processors, planners from local municipalities and townships, as well as small farms that provide for specialty/niche markets were taken into consideration.
This research shows multiple areas that can be attended to in order to increase the localization of profits, to increase efficiencies in the local agri-food sector, and to thus increase the development and building of a stronger local economy that will also then be more sustainable.
Lauren Moran, David Thompson, and Dr. Laura Wyper
As part of the Northern Ontario Tourism Development and Recovery Strategy in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic study, which sought to understand how tourism-based economies have grown under both normal circumstances, two surveys were conducted to identify the strengths and barriers to growth of the tourism industry.
With one survey focused on the experiences of visitors to the region and the other focused on the experiences of tourism-related enterprises, the surveys were conducted from April to May 30, 2021, and focused on the preceding 12 months’ of respondents’ experiences.
This study was conducted with the support of Algoma University’s Institutional Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Dr. Nusrate Aziz, Dr. Tamanna Rimi, Dr. Sean Meades, Graham Slater
In 2009, a ‘learning circle’ methodology was used to develop an Environmental Scan on Urban Aboriginal Economic Development (UAED) for Sault Ste. Marie. The Environmental Scan explores the history of UAED and its current context in this locale. While educational initiatives such as the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Centre and Aboriginal specialized programs and services offered at Algoma University, Shingwauk University and Sault College are positively impacting low educational attainment levels in Sault Ste. Marie,; along with the positive efforts contributed by the Indian Friendship Centre and Métis Nation of Ontario in filling in the service gaps of mainstream organizations, more Aboriginal specific services that meet the cultural and social needs of the urban Aboriginal community need to be provided by mainstream organizations. Collectively, the urban Aboriginal economy can grow in Sault Ste. Marie.
Derek Rice, Ian Brodie, Natalie Waboose
In summer 2009, the NORDIK Institute approached the Sault Ste. Marie & District Labour Council to conduct a research study on the impacts of Sault Ste. Marie trade unions on the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie. The purpose of the project was to explore the nature and extent of labour’s involvement in the social economy of Sault Ste. Marie, as a way of celebrating and making more visible the major contribution that the labour movement has made to the City of Sault Ste. Marie. Unions are an integral part of the community, and continue to contribute positively to the social economy through their relationships with community groups and organizations, as well as through the activities of their membership. These contributions have transformed leaders in the labour market to act in solidarity with others in the community. Labour’s contributions highlight similar principles to the cooperative movement, which include solidarity, democratic decision-making, skills building, and the prioritization of people before profit.
David Thompson, Dr. Gayle Broad, Arnie Harnish, Al Fraser
This project engaged 7 youth to research the impact of Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC) across Ontario. In Algoma, youth were placed with East Algoma CFDC and the CDC of Sault Ste. Marie. Youth perspectives focused on research questions related to youth out-migration, regional partnerships, and entrepreneurship. The CFDCs are in the position to communicate economic opportunities and establish partnerships for tomorrow’s youth, but communities must be the leaders of their own projects, providing assistance by businesses, individuals, and agencies in the communities where they operate.
David Thompson, Ashleigh SauveSauvé
Through partnership with Edith Orr, manager of the Johnson Township Farmers’ Market, and the Algoma Food Network, NORDIK examined the flow of local food into the Sault Ste. Marie marketplace. A directory and map of businesses that report sourcing local (to the Algoma District) food (local food meaning any product harvested or raised in the Algoma District) was developed.
David Thompson and Nairne Cameron
This report presents the calculation for Sault Ste. Marie’s living wage, determining the 2019 amount to be $16.16 an hour. A living wage is the hourly wage a worker needs to meet their necessary expenses and enjoy a decent standard of living beyond poverty. It is calculated with a consideration of community-specific family expenses and includes basic costs such as food, rent, clothing, childcare and transportation, as well as items such as extended health care, recreation and a modest family vacation. This hourly wage reflects an adequate income for a family of four (two full-time working adults and two children) to cover their reasonable needs and participate socially in their community
Tamanna Rimi, Sean Meades, Jude Ortiz
In May 2003, the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) program of Algoma University undertook a study of the non-profit sector in Sault Ste. Marie, to determine its contribution to the overall economy of the City. The study explored In order to determine what contribution the non-profits were making to the economy, the areas of revenue generation and disbursement; direct and indirect job creation; community capacity building through volunteer and staff development; and social capital development were explored. The study indicated that in In addition to the significant contributions to the City’s economy and concrete jobs created job creation, the non-profit sector provides substantial contributions to the quality of life of Sault Ste. Marie’s citizens. Findings indicate and t that this sector of Sault Ste. Marie’s economy could be grown through strategic investment.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Steffanie Date
In 2011, the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Association approached NORDIK to explore marketing opportunities for local lamb and chevon (meat goat) products. Market analysis for lamb and goat products in the Algoma District was desired by the Algoma Sheep and Lamb Producers Association, in order to determine the feasibility of a market-based co-operative for lamb and goat producers in the Algoma District. Recommendations outlined how the group can realize opportunities and mitigate threats as producers continued to serve this market
Broderick Causley, David Thompson
Locally Grown Food for the Northern Urban Marketplace (2012)
This research profiled Sault Ste. Marie’s low wage earners and the impact of precarious work on their lives. This interactive study revealed many accounts of hardship and near-desperation; it also revealed that people are living courageous lives, full of hope and the determination necessary to support and care for their families and their community. While poverty comes in many forms, it is perhaps least recognizable in the face of the working poor. Self-advocates and supporters are bolstereds by this report’s recommendations for further collaborations and public awareness initiatives to raise the status of the city’s low wage earners.
Dr. Gayle Broad, Steffanie Date